For the Love of Brantford Podcast

For the Love of Brantford is a bi-weekly podcast that will explore the evolving story of our community.

Hosts Nathan Etherington (Brant Historical Society), Mandy Samwell (Eagle Place Community Association), and Zile Ozols (Brantford Public Library) look at past, present, and future events that impact Brantford and our community. 

This podcast is a must for anyone interested in local history. Episodes will discuss topics such as the development of Brantford, historical floods, street names, and more.​

Share your comments and questions with the hosts.


Photos and articles referred to in the podcast are provided by Brant Historical Society.

Season 2

Episode 7 - Brantford's Black Community History

In this episode, Nathan, Mandy and Zile discuss a *small* part of the history of Brantford's Black Community. Nathan shares some research from the Brant Museum and Archives. Mandy and Zile interview co-founder of Unite Against Hate, Amanda Mersereau. Unite Against Hate is a social profit community resource for anti-racism education, collaboration and support in Brantford. Amanda co-found the organization with Chris George. With support from historian Sarah Clarke, the Unite Against Hate website offers research about Brantford's Black History.

Episode 6 - Things to do

In this episode Nathan, Mandy and Zile discuss all the things there are to do in Brantford. Nathan shares about interesting events that took place in the past. Mandy interviews Jen Middleton from the City of Brantford about everything they do for Brantford residents (check out the Santa Clause Parade, Harmony Square activities, and the City's events calendar). Zile learns about how libraries are used by older adults from researchers Dana Sawchuk and Nicole Dalmer.

Bonus Episode - Full Interviews

Episode 5 - Growing Plants

In this episode Nathan, Mandy and Zile discuss various methods and groups that grow plants in the Brantford Area. Nathan interviews Brian Wood from the Bell Homestead about the Bell greenhouse. Mandy speaks with Equal Ground Community Gardens co-founder Cheryl Antoski about their community gardens. Zile interviews Butterflyway Rangers Gwen and Susie about the importance of planting native plants and providing habitats for native pollinators.

Bonus Episodes - Full Interviews

Episode 4 - Making a Difference

In this episode Nathan, Mandy and Zile discuss people and groups that have made a difference throughout the years in Brantford. Nathan shares research about the Depression in Brantford. Mandy speaks with community member Matthew Birdsell about his acts of kindness. Zile speaks with Susan Zudeima from Why Not City Missions about their new home for young mothers.

Bonus Episode - Full Interview

Episode 3 - Climate Change

In this episode Nathan, Mandy and Zile discuss climate change and how it might impact Brantford. Nathan goes over the basics of climate and how precipitation and temperature are measured and tracked over time. Mandy speaks with Karleigh and Ken about the Environmental Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee and Green Team. Zile learns more about the impacts of climate change from Professor Robert McLeman, a Coordinating Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s working group on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation.

Bonus Episodes - Full Interviews

Episode 2 - Truth & Reconciliation

In this episode Nathan, Mandy and Zile discuss National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Nathan highlights a few historic events in the area including some history of education on Six Nations. Mandy and Zile speak with Michelle Thomas about steps allies can take.  

Episode 1 - Education

In this episode Nathan, Mandy and Zile explore highlights of education institutions in Brantford. Nathan shares the history of several early education institutions (including Albion Street School) in Brantford. Mandy chats with Barb Walsworth from the Shellard Neighbourhood Association. Zile speaks with Rebecca Jamieson about the STEAM Academy at Six Nations Polytechnic.

Bonus Episode - Full interviews

Season 1

Episode 7 - Flooding

In this episode we talk about flooding in Brantford and how it has impacted the community. Nathan shares some geological data about the area (check out the Pleistocene and Bedrock maps) and stories about past floods (read the Royal Commission on Flooding that was written after the 1974 flood). Mandy and Dave Carrol share their stories from the 2018 flood. And Zile speaks with Brody from Environment Hamilton about the compounding impacts of climate change.

Episode 6 - Outdoor Activities

Join us for this episode to find out all the different ways you can be active outdoors in Brantford. Nathan shares how people were active throughout the ages. Mandy and Dana chat about the Ice Rink Program and how great it is to live on the Grand and the work of the Brant Waterways Foundation. And Zile speaks with Nicola Ross about some great hiking locations in the area.

Episode 5 - Housing

Learn about the past and current state of housing in Brantford. Nathan provides an overview of some past housing developments including Brantford Cottages (see the map here), Mandy shares a story about her great aunt Betty, and Zile speaks with Ian Aitken from the Community Legal Clinic about affordable housing.

Bonus Episode

Episode 4 - Street Names

Listen in and learn about some interesting Brantford street names and the history behind them. We also chat with John Gefucia about the Jane's Walk tour he does, and Victoria Coates from the City of Brantford informs us about the city's street naming policy (in case you wanted to know, it's not that easy to get a street named after you).

Episode 3 - Re/Development in Brantford

In this episode, we discuss different development projects over the years. You'll also hear from Heidi De Vries and Joy O'Donnell about the Mohawk Lake District project, and Dr. Brenda Murphy about sustainable development. Here are some resources to learn more about the Mohawk Lake and Canal cleanup and this projects vision statement, and the Mohawk District Plan.

Bonus Episodes - Full Interviews

Episode 2 - One Market (Square)

In our second episode, we explore the history of Market Square, now known as One Market. Nathan shares information about changes to the market implemented in the early 1900s and conflicting opinions at the time. Mandy interviews former Mayor Dave Neumann and Eagle Place Community Association Vice-President John Gefucia. Zile speaks with Dr. Heidi Northwood about Laurier Brantford's plans for One Market. Check out what the mall used to look like, then watch this short video from WLU prepared for Homecoming 2021 to get a glimpse of some of the renovation work that has already taken place at One Market:

Bonus Episodes - Full Interviews

Episode 1 - What makes Brantford unique

Our first episode starts with why we wanted to start this podcast and then goes into what makes Brantford such a unique place. Check out the articles about fluoride and introducing it into Brantford's water, and James Hillier, his life, and the electron microscope. Visit the Neighbourhood Association website, Community Living Brant, or Belonging Brant to learn about ways you can get involved in your community.

Bonus Episode - Full Interview with Rishia (Community Living Brant) and Taylor (Belonging Brant)

For the Love of Brantford Podcast Hosts

Nathan Etherington is a life-long Brant County resident who contributed to community building organizations since he was a teenager working with Town of Paris. He attended the University of Waterloo receiving a Bachelor of Science with minors in Earth Science and Geography. Subsequently, he completed his Teacher Education training from the University of Western Ontario in 2011. As part of his program, he worked with the Paris Museum & Historical Society developing educational programs and a series of summer Walking Tours. Nathan started volunteering with Brant Historical Society in October 2014 working with the Inventory Project and enhanced his knowledge of the collection. In September 2015, he was offered the job of Programming Coordinator responsible for delivery of senior programs and community outreach. In May of 2015, he transitioned to an administrator working with the assistance of Board Members to improve daily operations at the museum. 

Zile Ozols works in the Programming Department at the Brantford Public Library. She is a sci/fi horror reader, house builder, maker, and amateur vegetable gardener. Her passion for working for the community with the community drives her personal and professional decisions. Every day she endeavors to learn something new about her environment. 

Mandy Samwell is a Brantford girl born and raised with a fierce love for this city. She is a neighbourhood association President, community advocate, splash pad champion, and guerilla trail maker. As a longtime Brantford resident, Mandy has built deep connections in the community through a variety of roles. Mandy is the President of Eagle Place Community Association, Chair of the Brant Food System Coalition, and Vice Chair of the Neighbourhood Alliance of Brantford. Mandy has over 15 years of community development experience and has been a driving force for change in the community. You’ve probably seen her around as she spends most of her time out in the Brantford Community. When not out and about, she keeps her mind sharp by reading mysteries, painting, and playing video games.